Accounting, Documentation

Next phase of electronic documents pending

electronic documents

More changes to allow the use of electronic documents across the SMSF sector are reliant on the government picking up work carried out by Treasury.

A wider range of SMSF documents could be made into electronic versions if the government picked up work undertaken by Treasury prior to the last election, an SMSF expert has said.

Speaking during the 2022 SMSF Day in Sydney yesterday, Smarter SMSF chief executive Aaron Dunn noted the ability to sign some electronic documents related to SMSFs was the first step from the government to modernise business communication legislation, but more work needs to be done to make it more applicable to the sector.

“[The government] is looking to introduce a technology-neutral process to all of the Treasury rules portfolio. The Electronic Transactions Act is exempt from applying to Treasury portfolios, unless something is allowed by an instrument to be able to apply,” Dunn said.

“Section 127.1 [of the Corporations Act] allows for those measures under the Electronic Transactions Act to apply and we saw similar allowance for the signing of financial statements during COVID.

“What we have here is a decision by the government to look at how to apply the Electronic Transactions Act to a broad range of the Treasury portfolios and they have been working through consultation with various parts of industries impacted by the next phase of this, which is around the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act and regulations.

“The idea behind this is to allow for all documents that would be required to be executed within the Corporation Act 2001 to be able to be done and completed in any technology-neutral manner. In this instance, we would have a constitution that would currently be exempted allowed to be signed [digitally].”

The same principles would apply to newly established SMSFs, in particular if a corporate trustee has signed the deed in which different technology matters could apply.

“But other things like trustee declarations and consents to act are required by the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act must be done [in person] at this stage because the Electronic Transactions Act does not apply to the regulations unless you are told otherwise,” Dunn said.

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